Kelowna Rockets will open the regular season against the Kamloops Blazers

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KELOWNA, CANADA - JANUARY 7: Spencer Bast #23 of the Kamloops Blazers stick checks James Hilsendager #2 of the Kelowna Rockets on January 7, 2017 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze) *** Local Caption ***

One week from today the Kelowna Rockets will open the regular season against the Kamloops Blazers here at Prospera Place.

With game one fast approaching, Assistant Coach Kris Mallette says right now is about teaching systems.

“The time right now is used to work on new systems we’re trying to implement this season. We can also answer any questions that may come up and we can teach through repetition,” Mallette said. “We also need to keep the compete level up so that our players are good to go come Friday.”

As of right now Kelowna has 10 players away at NHL camps, so the odds are that they will be down a few bodies on opening night. All that will mean for the Rockets is some of their younger players will get more opportunity. The Rockets coaching staff has to prepare their group to be short all 10 players for game one, because they could be.

“We are preparing right now to play with who is here and as players return we can make roster adjustments. We don’t know when the players will be returning until they basically show up,” said Mallette.

Rockets players away at NHL camps as of Friday, September 15th:

Braydyn Chizen

Dillon Dube

Cal Foote

Lucas Johansen

Kole Lind

Nick Merkley

Tomas Soustal

Devante Stephens

Calvin Thurkauf

Carsen Twarynski

Rockets rookies will be beginning their first 72 game WHL schedule. That’s a long schedule if you haven’t done it before. Assistant Coach Mallette believes the leadership in the room will help ease the first season strains on the young guns.

“We feel the best teachers for the rookie players are the returning guys when it comes to preparing them for what lies ahead,” told Mallette. “We’re fortunate to have a lot of great leaders in our room who will know best how to deal with the highs and lows of their rookie campaigns.”

The Rockets produced a 3-0-1-0 preseason record, losing to Victoria 5-4 in overtime before defeating the Kamloops Blazers in the following three games by scores of 6-4, 1-0, and 4-3 in a shootout in their final preseason outing.

The regular season begins at home on Friday, September 22nd, when they host the Kamloops Blazers at Prospera Place. Puck drop is at 7:05pm.

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